When you’ve been single for a long time, you can start to feel like you’re never going to meet a significant other. Even if you logically know that life is still absolutely worth living without a relationship, this can still be a really crappy feeling. When I was in college, I broke up with my first long-term boyfriend, and stayed relatively single (aside from casual hook-up type relationships) for almost six years. During that time, I watched my close friends get in and out of relationships, saw some friends get engaged, and watched other chronically single people meet partners. After a few years of loving the single life, I started to feel completely defeated. I was sick of being on my own, and I wanted a boyfriend. The problem? I had no idea how to find a relationship, and I started to feel like it was never going to happen.
This, of course, was not true. I did meet someone, and even though things were rocky at the start, we grew as a couple, and we’re now engaged. Now, if you’re reading this, searching for someone, that story probably made you roll your eyes. I heard stories like that all the time when I was in my single phase, and they always made me feel annoyed. “Oh yes,” I would think sarcastically. “It’s just so easy. I’ll just sit around and wait while you enjoy your happily ever after.”
But listen! If you don’t want to hear the “how we met” stories from successful couples, you should pay attention to them, because they can teach you how to meet someone yourself. In a recent Ask Reddit thread, users were asked how they met a significant other after being single and feeling hopeless for a long time. The answers could help you find your way to your future partner, so here are some tips on how to find a relationship:
Use Your FriendsHigh school and college are two great places to meet people, because it feels natural and easy. But if you aren't in high school or college, you might feel like you have nowhere to meet anyone. If that's the case, start relying on your friends. Let them know you're single and looking, and ask if they know anyone. If they don't know anyone in the moment, they might think of you when they find someone, and they can help set you up. It works a lot of the time! One example? User sojutango says, "Almost every person I've slept with/dated was someone I had met through a friend, either by being introduced directly or being at the same social gathering. I think the fact that we had mutual friends and shared interests made it easier for them to overlook my lack of attractiveness." Even if your friends don't directly set you up, go out with them to mingle with different groups of people instead of always hanging with your own group. You might just stumble upon someone you like. Source: iStock
Get Out Of Your Comfort ZoneSometimes we find ourselves in a dating rut because we've been doing the same thing in the same place for too long. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can force you to meet and interact with a whole new group of people, which can be a good thing. User cheddarbiscuitcat makes the case for studying abroad or traveling on your own, saying, "I was pretty shy, antisocial, and a bit socially awkward when I was younger. Studied abroad and fended for myself for half a year. Came back stronger, more determined, and very opinionated so I interacted with people more. Still a bit socially awkward, but not as bad. I decided to go on dates not long after." Even if you don't meet someone, getting out of your hometown and traveling has so many other benefits. It helps you grow as a person, it gives you new experiences, and it can help teach you so much. Source: iStock
Go To TherapyMaybe you've been single for a long time because you're dealing with some emotional issues, like anxiety, depression, or a serious lack of confidence. It sounds corny, but it's true: you have to work on yourself before you can successfully date someone. You might want to look into therapy. User gratuitousnipcleave says, "I think the years of therapy really paid off. I was just a lot happier, healthier and more resilient. It came across to him and he knew I was worth pursuing. Had I not got my mental, physical, and emotional shit together he would have passed me over I'm sure." I'm not ashamed to say that I went to therapy when I was single, and I found it incredibly helpful. I definitely credit it when it comes to my attitude about relationships and what I deserve! Source: iStock
Force Yourself To Be More SocialAs a shy, awkward introvert, I definitely know how hard it can be to act more social. Unfortunately, you probably won't meet someone organically if you just hang by yourself or with your best friend every day. You have to push yourself to go out, at least once in a while. User Savvycattt says, "I was shy, overweight, and sort of the 'duff' of my friend group. I had also been talking to a guy at the time who was terrible on my self-esteem, topped with also having been raped not Long before that. Then I made the decision to go out of my shell to a party that my friend threw with all of her coworkers, and there he was. :) He liked me from the second he saw me and was just really upfront with me, there was no games, it was just fantastic from the start. He's seen me at my lowest points and at my highest points, and we've been married for two months now!" Of course, you probably won't meet someone the very first time you go out (although you might!), but keep at it - you never know. Source: iStock
Learn To Focus On YourselfAgain, you really do have to like yourself first before you can find someone who's a great partner. User krushenit explains: "I wouldn't say that I never thought I'd have a boyfriend or girlfriend, it was more like I thought I'd never have the partner I wanted (attractive, funny, intelligent, charming, all that shiz). I know I thought that way, because just looking at pictures of my old exes... ugh. Anyway. It all basically boiled down to me, first, being that person that I'd want to date. Waking up in the morning and being happy with myself, mentally and physically. I became confident, worked hard (lots of working out and eating healthy, thereby losing weight and gaining muscle); I learned how to apply makeup and style my hair; I dress well in clothes that fit me; I am friendly and nice (mostly) to other people. I try not to say or do stupid things (and if I do, I do it behind closed doors :) Now I attract people who put the same amount of effort in. The best part? I realized that I'm actually so happy with myself I don't even want another person. I am not in a relationship but I have a strong FWB situation, a flirtatious relationship with a super cute chick and I've been propositioned for a threesome with two very attractive friends. I honestly know I'm not the most attractive woman in the world but I do have a good body (which I knew was something I could change) and I'm just... comfortable in my skin." Source: iStock
Take A Chance, Be Open MindedDating can be hard, especially if you have a very specific list of what you want and don't want. My advice? Be more open-minded, and say yes more. Of course, don't say yes to things you aren't comfortable with, but try to give people a chance even if they don't seem like your type. Here's my personal example: I met my current fiance after he said hi to me in a parking lot. I ignored him and he left a note in my car with his number. I took a chance by texting him, then adding him on Facebook, and my immediate thought was, "No way." He was younger than me (a no), he lived in a town full of people I didn't like (nope!), he was friends with someone I had casually dated before (yikes!), he worked in construction and was very "manly" and not a reader like myself (uh, no), and he has the same name as my dad (NO THANKS!). My best friend convinced me to give him a chance, so I did, and I obviously ended up falling for him. I think we're a great match, even though it's creepy AF that he has the same name as my dad. Anyway, if I hadn't been open minded, he would have been gone. Source: iStock
Give A Friend A ChanceSome of the best relationships come out of friendships - it's just that sometimes it takes a really long time for that friendship to turn romantic. But every once in a while, it's worth waiting for that to happen - and sticking it out through other partners. This story from user jokersmadlove might change your mind. They said, "I was shy and thought I was way more overweight than I was. I convinced myself no one would ever love a fat girl. I made a male friend who was taking the same degree as I was but a year ahead. I liked him but he had a long distance girlfriend and my self esteem told me he would never think of me than more than a friend. This lead to us becoming best friends over 2 years. He broke up with his gf and 8 months later my friend texted him asking if he would be upset if she set me up with another guy (she claimed she didn't want to "step on his toes"). He said it was fine. I guess my friends question was enough for him to suddenly realize that he loved hanging out with me and we could potential be best friends WITH cuddling. With the help of some alcohol (just tipsy), he got the guts to make a move and I was feeling good enough to not let my self esteem get in the way. We have been together 6 years, married for 3." Source: iStock
Message Them OnlineWant to meet someone? Then make a move! You don't need to run up to people and ask everyone out, but if you see someone you think is cool, then reach out to them. The easiest way to do this is online, rather than face to face. Let this story be your inspiration: okklimtschiele says, "I Facebooked messaged him after attending an audition at school! I had thought he was cute for a couple of months and we were put in the same audition block. I messaged him to tell him that I liked his monologue and we started talking and he asked me out a couple of weeks later. We hung out basically every day for a few weeks after our date because we were on winter break (as friends; he wanted to take things slow and we wanted to get to know each other) and then he asked me to be his girlfriend. Now we're about to reach 5 months of officially dating! :) You just have to be kind and understanding of feelings and boundaries. DON'T BE AFRAID TO COMMUNICATE; that's a major thing that's held me back in my relationships, even including my current one, but I'm improving. Also be open to their interests and don't push them to be something they're not. You'll both be most comfortable when you're yourselves, there should be no pressure to change who you are; it's all an opportunity for growth and trust if you handle it correctly." Source: iStock
Try Online DatingA lot of people might make fun of online dating, but don't knock it until you try it! I know so many happy couples who met through dating websites or apps like Tinder, and there's nothing wrong with that! If you're having a lot of trouble meeting people on your own, then definitely consider it. Use this story as an example: HermionesBook says, "Tinder. I'm a very shy and introverted person who had really bad self esteem a few years ago. I joined it and didn't use my best pictures because I wanted to see if guys thought I was attractive (which I realize on a hooking up app doesn't matter that much but anyway). Swiped right and I just felt so comfortable around him on our dates. We've been together for 3 years and I love him so much. I'm 24 now and still think I would be single if I had never joined tinder" Source: iStock
Stop Focusing On ItI know this is incredibly annoying advice, but seriously: stop trying so hard to find someone to date. Once you stop obsessing over it, things will become easier. User BlueberryQuick says, "I stopped looking and put it completely out of my mind. I stopped expecting anything, stopped seeking, and stopped wondering if every man I met might be Him. I met my husband randomly, at a place I loved but only went on Saturdays. He worked only on Fridays, so we'd never met up until that night. I wasn't looking and it found me." Source: iStock
How did you meet your significant other? Or how long have you been single? Tell us in the comments.